Thursday, May 22, 2008
Upcoming New River Trail 50k featured in May 22, 2008 Winston-Salem Journal
These photos by Bruce Chapman and accompanying story by Monte Mitchell called: Fuuuuuun Run: Extreme runner promotes benefit race appears on the cover of the local section of today's Winston-Salem Journal.
The newspaper article discusses the New River Trail 50k. This is my first venture into race directing and gives a neat overview of ultrarunning with some neat perspectives from registered runners. As of today we have 51 runners! There are 4 scholarship spots open for anyone who needs assistance with the entry fee. Just email me at email@example.com if interested!
And yes, we are still looking for volunteers-experienced or not!
I have copied the story below in case the above link doesn't stay "live" for more than today!
FUUUUUUUN RUN: Extreme runner promotes benefit Race
By Monte Mitchell
Published: May 22, 2008
JEFFERSON -- Annette Bednosky is an ultramarathon runner who thinks running the road to the top of Mount Jefferson is a nice change-of-pace workout to lighten things up a bit.
"My forte as a competitive runner is the steeper and slicker, the better I do," said Bednosky, who has run in races as long as 100 miles, often scrambling up and down mountain trails.
Bednosky was the 2005 women's champion at the granddaddy of ultramarathon trail runs, the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run in California, where she ran along trails once used by Gold Rush miners, climbing 18,000 vertical feet and then descending more than 22,000 feet.
So when the time came for her to step out of the competitive-running ranks long enough to put on a race director's cap and organize an ultramarathon, runners might have expected a brutal, calf-punishing route up and down steep ridges near her home in Jefferson.
Instead, Bednosky is planning the first New River Trail 50K along a route that's about as flat and easy as a 50-kilometer (or 31.1-mile) run could be in the mountains. It'll start in the Grayson County, Va., town of Fries on Oct. 11, and stay within the New River Trail State Park on a dirt path that follows the river and Chestnut Creek.
Part of the reason for picking this route is to raise money for the National Committee for the New River, but it's also to encourage people to run in their first ultramarathon. Ultramarathons are various distances longer than the marathon's 26 miles, 385 yards.
Such runs as the Western States are daunting even for elite-level athletes such as Bednosky, and it certainly won't be easy to finish the New River Trail 50K. But while the flat course will make this a good training run for elite ultramarathon runners preparing for other races, it's still achievable for runners who take pride in being middle-of-the-pack or back-of-the-pack plodders.
Donna Bays, a 43-year-old paralegal from Kingsport, Tenn., is preparing for the New River Trail 50K.
Bays ran in her first ultramarathon May 3, the Strolling Jim 40-Mile Run, named after a 1939 champion Tennessee walking horse.
"I so much loved the atmosphere of the ultra events," she said. "There's three times as many support people as runners. The focus is on, ‘How do we get these folks to the finish line?'"
Bays has lost more than 100 pounds in the past four years. She had run hardly a step in her life before she turned 40, she said, and started out doing just 30 seconds at a time on a treadmill. She has run in three marathons, but likes the slower pace and more relaxed atmosphere of the ultras.
"I'm very slow, but I like to see how far I can run," she said.
Patience and stick-to-it-ness are keys. The cutoff time is seven hours, meaning that runners could average a pace of 13-and-a-half-minutes a mile.
For people who think they could never do it or who think that their biggest running achievements are behind them, the average age of runners already signed up is about 50.
Keith Wood, 58, of Clemmon, has run about 30 marathons and eight ultras. He says that the training is about the same for a 31-miler as a marathon and that people who are already running now still have time to prepare.
He said he enjoys the ultras because they are generally run on trails and there is a lot of camaraderie among people as runners rise to the challenge of finishing.
"It's a good way of relaxing," he said. "Get out in the woods. You don't have to fight traffic."
Both runners said they're looking forward to the New River Trail 50K, and they expect Bednosky's experience, reputation and attitude will contribute to establish the run as a first-class event.
Bednosky will be too busy directing the race to run in it, but she is training for other races. She ran along a dirt road outside Jefferson last week, still sporting scabbed knees from a fall during a 50K in New York. Her training run followed the dirt road along the South Fork of the New River.
The river here is much smaller than where the race will be run in Virginia, as it widens outs and deepens after the confluence of the north and south forks. But the dirt road that follows the South Fork here offers a nice preview.
Forty-eight people have signed up so far.
Bednosky, who works as a counselor at Ashe County High School, said she hopes that other runners will follow her proven pre-running routine: "Rush home from school, change my clothes, grab my water bottle and get out before I get tempted to get into something else."
■ Monte Mitchell can be reached at 336-667-5691 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
■ To read more about Annette Bednosky's running, read her blog at www.annettebednosky.blogspot.com. For entry information and other details about the New River Trail 50K, visit the Web site for the National Committee for the New River, at www.ncnr.org. On the left side of the page, click on "Calendar of Events," go to October listings and follow the link to the race page.